BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — X Games gold medalist and former Tahoe resident Chas Guldemond of Reno finished fifth to secure the top U.S. spot in the first-ever slopestyle snowboarding Olympic qualifier at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships on Sunday.
The final produced some of the most progressive tricks ever performed in competition, with Canadian Mark McMorris stomping a triple cork 1440 and winning with a score of 97.80. McMorris posted a 95.00 in the first round — a full four points above the rest of the riders — so he had nothing to lose when he threw down the triple cork.
Sven Thorgren of Sweden was second with a score of 91 and Canadian Maxence Parrot rounded out the podium with a score of 89. Sebastien Toutant of Canada was fourth.
Guldemond’s first and highest-scoring run consisted of a front board 180 out, half cab onto the wall ride 180 out, switch backside 900, double back rodeo, half cab on to the box, back lip on the rainbow rail, cab double cork 1260, and a backside double cork 1080.
“I didn’t get the training I wanted to coming into the event. I really just wanted to be smooth and solid, land my runs and post up a good score,” Guldemond said. “I did that and there’s more in the tank.”
Sage Kotsenburg of Park City, Utah, and Brandon Davis of Mammoth Lakes finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the final and are now second and third in the U.S. Olympic qualifications standings.
Top-qualifier and favored U.S. athlete Shaun White sat out the event because of a sprained ankle that he re-aggravated during the halfpipe final on Saturday.
Selection to the Olympic snowboarding team will be made from athletes who have a top-four finish against the entire field in the selection events. Those athletes will be ranked with their best two of five qualifying events using World Cup scoring (1,000-point scale) comparing only USA athletes.
Guldemond earned 1,000 qualification points for his fifth-place finish.
“It really hasn’t set in yet, but it’s a good feeling,” he said. “At Copper I’ve got to start working on those big tricks because the end goal is a podium in Sochi. So, I’ve got to get to work.”
The Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain on Dec. 21-22 will mark the second of five qualifiers for both the men and women.
Anderson lands slopestyle victory
Fading light and cloudy skies made for a tough women’s competition Friday. But Jamie Anderson of South Lake Tahoe performed in the clutch, as she threw down a dominant second run to win the Dew Cup and the first-ever slopestyle snowboarding Olympic qualifier.
After falling in her first run, Anderson scored a 96.00 with her second run, putting herself in a strong position to be selected to the first U.S. Olympic slopestyle snowboarding team.
“I was really nervous,” Anderson said. “I work really hard, so it’s challenging when you know you can do better and you don’t. So after my first run I was a little bit upset, but I had to clear it and know that it all happened for a reason, because now it feels so much better.”
Anderson’t winning run consisted of a back blunt to gap to boardslide to switch out, cab 720 tail, switch backside 540, front 360 shifty and a huge backside 540.
Judges rewarded her well, as Anderson’s winning score was more than six points higher than runner-up finisher Enni Rukajarvi of Finland, who scored an 89.40. Silje Norendal of Norway was third with a score of 86.20.
The women will compete along with the men Dec. 21-22 at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain.